From market to the classroom
Born in 1963, in the Trafalgar district, St Catherine, Carol Worrel had what many would classify as a very difficult life, but quickly found out that a sound education could change her path.
Looking back two decades ago, now with a degree in primary education from St Joseph's Teachers' College, Worrel is the epitome of confidence that is manifested daily to her students.
However, her trek to the classroom of the Linstead Primary and Junior High School started with sheer determination and a desire to succeed.
"I started out as a vendor at the Spanish Town Market, and sometimes I would work as a domestic helper just to make an honest living," Worrel shared.
Worrel also told Outlook that she grew up with her grandfather, who, though he couldn't read or write, was very instrumental in her life.
"He was the father I knew and (he) was very good to me. He would ensure that I am in school regularly, even when there was no money. And I would walk about seven kilometres from home to the Bog Walk Secondary School," Worrel said.
Having failed her Common Entrance, she was later accepted into Bog Walk Secondary, where she excelled, most times, topping her class.
But before leaving for Dinthill Technical, she did very badly on her external examinations.
"In my second year at Dinthill, I got pregnant for my first boyfriend and the lack of emotional support saw my struggles escalating," Worrel said with a smile.
She dropped out of school and started picking coffee at the Crawl Property in Content, St Catherine.
"In 1984, I started evening classes at IPAS on Adelaide Street, Spanish Town, this while selling chicken foot and soup bone that I would purchase from the Content Factory," Worrel said.
Despite being criticised and ridiculed for obtaining her Caribbean Examinations Council subjects at 31 years old, she managed to get a distinction in mathematics, English language, social studies, accounts, biology, and office procedures.
"I applied to St Joseph's Teachers' College shortly after, but with three children, I had to continue selling in the market on weekends," said Worrel.
The determined mother of three said, by now, persons in her community would laugh and jeer her, but nothing could stop her.
"I graduated from St Joseph's in 2003, with a teacher's diploma," the teacher said proudly.
Worrel's teaching career started in 2004 at the Linstead Primary and Junior High School and she continues to inspire herself, especially with the realisation that her life has come full circle.
She said that it has been a real blessing despite all her struggles, and, so far, she has been able to see all her children obtain a university degree.